Outremont’s Own Hate Problem: Incitement Masquerading as Journalism

Lire cet article en français "Outremont et son problème de haine : l’incitation haineuse déguisée en journalisme"

Lacerte doing 'his thing' at the Mile End Library gathering, June 2012

Lacerte doing 'his thing' at the Mile End Library gathering, June 2012

by Leila Marshy – founder of Friends of Hutchison

We are, as the Chinese proverb warns, living in interesting times. The recent election in the US seems to have bequeathed a worldwide license to be racist, intolerant, mean-spirited and stupid. The recent massacre in a Quebec City mosque and even the swastikas on Outremont cars this week is testament to that. None of us are immune, none of us are protected, we are all in this together.

Which is why, after years of ignoring a hate monger in our midsts and making a collective decision to “not fan the flames of hate” or give him more attention than he deserves, some of us are deciding that enough is enough.

Since even prior to the founding of Friends of Hutchison in 2011, Outremont resident Pierre Lacerte has used his blog and his connections at the borough council to cast aspersions on the Hasidic community and those who would dare to dialogue with them. Deputizing himself as the borough’s unofficial informant, in tandem with borough councillor Céline Forget, he spends his time working tirelessly against the appearance of any sort of “concessions” on the part of elected officials, and punishes them savagely when they do.

As for the ordinary resident, he tracks and monitors anyone who gets too close to a Hasidic Jew. He scours social media accounts for pictures and personal information, trolls the Internet to seek out and examine affiliations or statements, and takes clandestine pictures from a safe distance. With all this “data” he builds a scathing portrait of the communities around him.

Lacerte and Forget harassing citizens

As per Lacerte, any neighbour who dares to consider the Hasidim worthy of dialogue is a paid lobbyist

As per Lacerte, the neighbours who wish to engage with the Hasidim are paid lobbyists; the Hasidim themselves are a demonic encroaching community; the city officials who deal with the Hasidim are in their pocket; kosher is an insidious Jewish tax that we all must pay for; and the journalists who do not denounce the Hasidim have either been brainwashed or work for Jews. When things get too quiet in Outremont, he throws his weight on the Muslim community who, among other things, practice an evil form of animal torture and taxation otherwise known as halal.

His most recent post, from January 22, is true to form. Private photographs, spurious accusations, personal data, juvenile photoshopping, this time against a whole new set of residents and neighbours. Their crime? They dared to consider the Hasidim worthy of dialogue.

Some of Lacerte’s vile photoshopped art

He has a robust cadre of readers and supporters, some of them on the Outremont borough council, who take the time to thank him for all his hard work and praise his “investigative journalism.” But Lacerte, who calls himself a journalist, has more in common with the worst of the hate blogs than he does with any reputable media. Because a real journalist would interview his subjects. A real journalist would not have one agenda and pick and pick at it until he sees blood. A real journalist would have respect for the views he does not share. A real journalist would not stoop to ad hominem attacks to prove a point. A real journalist would not engage in the ceaseless decade-long trolling and stalking of a peaceful ethnic commmunity. Finally, a real journalist would not consistently skirt the parameters of illegal if not criminal harassement.

Hijacking the Monthly Borough Council

Every month, Lacerte and his cohorts attend the Outremont borough council and publicly berate them into submission. Mayor Cinq-Mars once even remarked that she could do no right by him: if she consults with the Hasidim she is accused of having secret meetings with lobbyists; but if she does not consult with them she is accused of “ignoring the problem”. Over time, this has had the effect of creating a punitive atmosphere where every Hasidic person is “illegal”, every bylaw that does not restrict them is giving in to their “lobby”, and every councillor who does not actively oppose 25% of the borough’s population is assumed to be in their pocket.

When Pierre Lacerte ran for Outremont borough council in 2013 he put his blog on hiatus and created a new conveniently anodine website and whitewashed it of any evidence of his obsessions. Pretending to care only about urban renewal and the odd tree planting, he came close to winning.

This is how narrow-mindedness, mean-spiritedness, and even fascism happens. We are seeing it around the world and we see it in our own backyard. Through intimidation, harassement, stalking, cyberbullying and spurious accusations, people like Pierre Lacerte attempt to shape the world in their image.

There is too much at stake in 2017 to continue to enable this kind of nonsense. Every prominent Quebec official has declared zero tolerance in the wake of the Quebec mosque shootings. This includes zero tolerance for blogs like the one belonging to Pierre Lacerte.

9 comments (8 comments in English, 1 comments in French)

Pour lire ou poster un commentaires en français allez à "Outremont et son problème de haine : l’incitation haineuse déguisée en journalisme"

Please Note: Comments on each post match the posts language so that the conversation flows smoothly.

  1. Mylène
    February 12, 2017

    Bravo Mme Marshy!! I’ve been living in this beautiful borough of Outremont for many decades. My Hasidic neighbors have always been peaceful and respectful. Yes, it’s a young active and bustling community, so of course there are problems of noise, garbage, etc etc, and as other different cultural communities living side by side, there are differences, misunderstandings etc etc, but these issues can be solved in a mutually respectful environment.

    Sadly Lacerte and Forget have badly poisoned the public discourse with their hate filled agenda, thus killing any chance of solving the real issues facing Outremont residents.

    Mayor Cinq-Mars is guilty in letting all this unfold, she acted like a weakling. For years she has let Lacerte and Forget dominate the monthly council meetings. Instead of standing up above their hate, and saying enough is enough.

    Let’s hope Outremont gets a real leader for mayor next elections who will put a stop to all these hate filled agenda’s and start dealing with the real issues facing Outremont.

  2. Aron Binet
    February 12, 2017

    When was the last time Lacerte worked for the media? Wasnt it something like 20 years ago? Since then he’s been jobless…. he has good oratory and writing talent plus he’s good looking but his slyness and mean-spiritedness is probably the reason why he couldn’t hold down a job anywhere.

  3. Elizabeth Ball
    February 12, 2017

    Bravo, Leila! You nailed it!

  4. Brenda Keesal
    February 13, 2017

    Thank you for outing this man’s abhorrent campaign for hatred, division and violence. Zero tolerance.

  5. Marie Lafrance
    February 14, 2017

    Thanks for writing this, Leila Marshy. There is something so deeply disturbing about Lacerte and his little army devoting their life, for so many years now, to trolling, stalking and harassing the Hassidic community. I had observed that he cleaned up his website when he ran for council, and I’m not surprised (but I’m disgusted though) to learn it’s back to its usual despicable content, worthy of another most troubling era, as I told him many years ago. He invited me for coffee then, I declined.

    I believe as you do that we should’t remain silent anymore.

  6. Howard Krosnick
    February 14, 2017

    Merci Leila for fighting this fight with reason and truth and facts and compassion. And for sticking with it, eyes open and opening our eyes as well.

  7. Emmanuelle
    February 20, 2017

    I lived in the Mile-End few years ago and never had problems with the Hassidics. Two of them were even visiting my painting studio from time to time to see my paintings. I’m really sorry for that Lacerte guy. I think he is frustrated and he is just projecting his self-loathing on others. Next time he comes to one of your meetings, bring a big cardboard picture of kittens and a mirror, so he can see himself yelling at something harmless!

  8. Laura Thomson
    March 18, 2017

    What I have to say may not be profound and the concept is certainly not original, but I feel the need to express this anyway:

    I am nobody’s paid lobbyist; I think for myself and I act according to my own conscience.

    This world needs not one more drop of hate, division, or any other poison. It is in desperate need of love and compassion for and from all, expressed through kind and open-hearted acts, gestures and thoughts. It needs empathy, hard work, patience and laughter. It needs hope.

    It needs good people who try to leave this world better than how they entered it. Good people, no matter their religion, skin colour, body shape, gender, language or anything else that artificially divides us. And I believe that there are still many more of these people in this world than there are hurtful, hateful ones. People who respect and support each other, reaching out to offer help when times are rough and being happy for each other in good times.

    I guess there is not much we can do about people who choose to spend their lives spreading poison, except to stick together as people who don’t believe that hate can intimidate us or sour our hearts.